Ad Spot

Across the Pastor’s Desk: Nourishing those who come to him

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose

The readings during the Sundays of Easter speak to the ways in which the resurrection of the Savior lead to the ever-expanding community of believers, as well as what it means to be a follower of the risen Lord. Words were used to try to capture the indescribable in many ways. Metaphors, allegories, parable, as well as simple prose were used to describe what this new life in Christ meant for those whom the Spirit lead to faith.

Don Rose

The Gospel reading that many will hear this week is in part the familiar story of the vine and the branches. In what has become an allegorical style the gospel writer tells of the intimate connection that exist between Jesus as the vine and his followers as the branches. Jesus makes it clear that the life-giving power of the Spirit is only available if the branches are firmly attached to the vine, if Jesus’ followers are firmly connected to Jesus himself. One important thing to note is that the vine will be able to continue without particular branches but that no branch will survive without the nourishment of the vine.

This picture that Jesus shares reminds God’s children of the importance of their life lived in community. Like the earliest followers so today’s followers are called to be of one mind in their faithful devotion to Jesus the Christ. God’s people are much more than individuals as they are called into community together to love and to witness to the world. The life of faith is not one of “I, me, and mine” but rather one of “we, us, and ours.” One’s consideration is drawn to a larger venue than one’s own vision of the world. A believer is called to consider the other as well as one’s self in decisions that are made and actions that are taken. Together God’s people bear Christ’s name to the ends of the earth, and it is in that shared witness that the world comes to be exposed to the fullness of God’s love and grace.

Today’s world is filled with the language of “I want” and “I can do.”  Though there may be some merit in such language by the standards of the world, the language of family and connectedness in Christ draws God’s people away from self to an awareness of the community known as the body of Christ. It is in the active love of that community that witness will be made. That love is possible only when the branches are nourished by the vine and Jesus’s followers are strengthened and nourished by their intimate connection with him. Together with the vine branches will flourish. Apart they have no life in themselves.

In the resurrection, Jesus has become that vine that will nourish all who are connected to him. In him there is life and grace beyond measure, beyond anything that humans might hope or desire. Firmly connected to this vine of life, even pruning will not have the power to destroy. And to think that it all comes as a free gift of God’s overwhelming love for the whole of creation. Thanks be to God.

Don Rose is pastor of Mansfield and United Lutheran churches.

News

Walz to issue timeline for lifting all COVID-19 restrictions

News

New men’s clothing and gift store opens downtown

Cops, Courts & Fires

Man who helped burn precinct during Floyd unrest sentenced

News

Public invited to street renaming in honor of Marion Ross

Cops, Courts & Fires

Attempted catalytic converter theft and other reports

News

Facebook board upholds Trump suspension

Cops, Courts & Fires

Chauvin’s lawyer seeks new trial, hearing to impeach verdict

News

Sons of Norway plan meeting

News

NAMI Minnesota offering free mental health classes to public

News

Yearly 4-H recognition banquet recognizes many

News

Tips to avoid online scammers who try to steal your money from sales websites

News

SMART Transit to reinstitute fare collection in July

Health Updates

Biden aims to vaccinate 70% of American adults by July 4

News

Walz plans to announce easing of virus rules on Thursday

Gallery

Albert Lea ninja warriors compete

Cops, Courts & Fires

1 killed, 1 hurt in road rage motorcycle crash

Health Updates

COVID-19 update: Active cases dropping in Freeborn County

News

Commissioners approve reopening of fairgrounds on case-by-case basis

Cops, Courts & Fires

Minneapolis police say missing toddler found safe

News

MN Senate Republicans pass voter ID bill

Cops, Courts & Fires

Chauvin juror defends participation in Washington protest

Cops, Courts & Fires

Vehicle stolen and other reports

Health Updates

FDA expected to OK Pfizer vaccine for teens within week

Education

School board hears options for 2021-22 busing schedule